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Malaysians are given the unattractive choices of voting either the ruling Barisan Nasional or the oppositionís loose coalition comprising Islamists, liberals, social democrats and racists whose parochial beliefs arequite similar to some BN component parties.

Although BN seems to be the winning side again, with or without the two-thirds majority, there are those who believe that the ruling coalition could be toppled this time around. Thereís nothing wrong with having hope but if it means you have to live in your own world and to deny reality, thatís not really healthy for the mind and the soul.

Anyway, the 1999/2000 general election is at best, the chance for the opposition to deny BNís two-thirds majority. The only way this can ever be achieved is for all the opposition members to adopt a common stand that is sincere, honest and realistic for everybody.

However, this is also the most difficult to achieve as the opposition leaders are more interested in forwarding their own agenda rather than accepting the majority of peopleís views.

For example, Parti Islam Semalaysia (PAS) is more interested in its undemocratic belief of forming an Islamic state for Malaysia, despite the fact about half of the population are not Muslims. Their leaders are also showing off their religious might by trying to coerce and force Muslims who do not subscribe to their rigid, outdated and intolerant belief.

Despite PASí general stand on justice and democracy, most of their programmes centred on forcing United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) to make Malaysia more Islamic (by introducing more religious laws even though they might contradict with freedom and the rights guaranteed under the Federal Constitution).

PASí idea of justice and democracy is all about others (i.e. non-Muslims especially) to allow themselves to be dominated by Muslim rulers, who will or course protect them (from whom?) as long as they are not against the state.

Whereas Parti Keadilan Nasional (KeADILan) led by former Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahimís wife Datin Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail is all about Anwar. To get Anwar out of jail and to topple Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad so that Anwar can replace him.

The problem with KeADILan is that it is infested with:

  • former UMNO Youth leaders, whose style, tactics and strategies are so similar to UMNO (which is not too clean in the political maneuvering)

  • Angkatan Belia Islam Malaysia (ABIM) leaders whose modern-style clothing is only their difference with other extreme, radical and fundamentalist Islamist organisations - very similar to PAS

  • Chinese and Indian community leaders who are fed up with BN component parties that are supposed to represent their interests such as Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA) and Malaysian Indian Congress MIC). However, their attitude is similar to those of MCA and MIC because despite being in KeADILan, they still behave as if they are still in BN, i.e. everything is racially based.

  • The Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) leaders who, all the while have refused to join any political parties, decided that only Anwar can really implement justice, freedom, equality and democracy in Malaysia.
Of course, a better choice would the Democratic Action Party (DAP), an overwhelmingly Chinese-dominated party but with a democratic constitution that promotes multi-racialism and social democracy.

But then, what is DAP doing with PAS? There are many answers to that but for the sake of unity among the opposition, most of their supporters prefer to close one eye to allow the wave of opposition to continue against BN.

There is no need to talk much about Parti Rakyat Malaysia (PRM), whose leaders seem to be more interested in campaigning for Anwar rather than explain the partyís programmes to the people. It is a small party and it had contested only a few seats in the past elections.

So the major players are actually PAS, DAP and KeADILAN. Only DAP believes that reducing BNís two-thirds majority should be the priority while the other two are quite sure that Anwar will be the next prime minister.

With the current scenario, there is not much of a choice for Malaysians, at least in terms of which party to vote for. Maybe, this is the time for voters to reduce the two-thirds majority. At least the people can later say that it will surely reduce BN leadersí arrogance, so that they will listen to the people more carefully next time.

But then, even if most of us can agree to reduce the two-thirds majority, how will the voting trend be? If the two-thirds majority is to be denied, does it also mean allowing PAS to have the most votes, as it seems that PAS is the strongest in terms of support and votes among the opposition?

If PAS were ever the most powerful party among the opposition, why would PAS need to work with others later? Its aim of establishing the undemocratic Islamic state would be easily realised if it has the largest number of votes, Member of Parliament (MPs) and State Assemblymen.

PAS is also banking on the idea that if it can get the biggest share of victory (if BNís two-thirds majority is denied this time), it will be easy for the Islamist party to persuade Malay-dominated KeADILan and even UMNO members to support them. For the Malays in Malaysia, nothing is more sacred than doing things labelled as Islamic (whether it is true or not). Malays are quite gullible when it comes to religion. That is why BN through UMNO has managed to manipulate religion and race all these while.

So, maybe it is better for the people to reject both PAS and BN, even if to deny the ruling coalitionís two-thirds majority. The idea is that Malaysians who are basically right thinking people, moderate, pragmatic and peace loving can throw their support behind a democratic coalition, instead of racial- and religious-based parties.

Maybe with DAP, PRM (if they are not too infatuated with Anwar) or other parties such as the new Parti Sosialis, Malaysian Democratic Party and other non-racial and non-religious parties in the country. This may be the first step towards Malaysians fighting properly for their rights and freedom as enshrined in the Constitution.

Maybe this is just a dream (for the time being). But then this dream is surely better than the nightmare of the Islamists and the racists who want to rule Malaysia, without giving a damn about the non-Malays and the non-Muslims in this country.

Life is hard enough in a country that separates the people between Bumiputera and Non-Bumiputera. It will be harder and more painful for most people, if it is further divided by Muslims and Non-Muslims.

Is this the vision of Malaysia Baru?


"Democracy encourages the majority to decide things about which the majority is ignorant."
- John Simon -

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